Title: Loyalty to Blood
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
Era: Third Age of the Sun
Genre: Action/Adventure, AU
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Legolas, Thranduil (, OCs)
Summary: In the shadows of Mirkwood wander many things, and the closer to Dol Guldur you go, the more evil things get. But even in darkness other things may bloom – things such as loyalty and friendship. This is a story of a surprising camaraderie between two entirely different creatures. A story never again told in words by those who live: how did Legolas and Thaíly meet.
Part of the history of “The Last Journey”. Takes place right after “Prince of Dol Guldur”. Complete.
Warnings: Death, violence, darkness, evil etc.
Author’s Note: In this chapter all speech etc. is done in Elvish if not marked other way.
“¤…¤” = Westron
Rafél stepped out of his tent, immediately seeing that something was out of place. Warriors were running here and there, tension filling the air. Are we under an attack? the guardian wondered, watching the other Elves pass him. Finally he stepped forward, grabbing one warrior’s hand to stop him. ”What is going on?” he asked sternly.
“The young Prince has disappeared,” the Elf told him, only then realising to whom he was speaking. “I am sorry my Lord, we were told not to wake you…”
“Be gone,” Rafél snapped, pushing the other away. “We all have out duties to fulfil,” he muttered, hearing the other Elf leave him. He knew he had no reason to be annoyed with the innocent warrior, but he needed to fume at someone, at the moment. For Valar’s sake, why do you have to make this so hard to me, Legolas? But deep inside he knew it was not Legolas himself making the conscious decisions, at the moment. Has that darkness gained control again? Curse me, but I should have seen this coming. If not me, who will look after him? No other knows the truth… For a moment, he regretted that he hadn’t told Thalión the truth. It was not that he did not trust to the Cousins: he merely wished to keep his and Legolas’ confrontation from further knowledge.
His mind finally set, Rafél set out to find out more of their current situation. If Legolas was indeed gone, it would be absolutely necessary for them to find the Prince. And before anyone else finds him, I have to make sure he is back to normal. Or else everyone will know of his –
The guardian sighed, halting his steps. Slowly he turned around, meeting his King’s iron stare. “My liege,” he bowed, pushing back the pain that his protesting leg caused.
“You must have heard that Legolas is gone,” Thranduil stated, stopping before the other.
It took only a moment from Rafél to notice that his Lord was clad in a similar tunic as his warriors – which meant he was going to join into his son’s searchers. “I heard of that, yes,” he answered carefully.
Thranduil nodded, shifting the bow on his shoulder. “Then you must understand why I wish you to stay in the camp.”
Rafél’s head shot up, his eyes ablaze with disbelief. “But my liege, with all respect, Legolas is my task. I should be the first to look for him.”
“But my command is your order. You are in no condition to track my son. Use your time well as we search for him.” Thranduil halted, eyeing the other Sinda sternly. Rafél was his senior and he did not doubt a moment that the guardian’s loyalty went first to his son. But he was Rafél’s King, and therefor the other should obey him. This made a beautiful dilemma, and Thranduil waited with interest how the other would counter his words. But as no reply came, Thranduil let out a soft breath, thanking the Valar in his mind. He had no desire to have words with Rafél, for he knew there was a possibility he might actually lose. “I am sure that this search will be a short one: Legolas is in no condition to wander alone. And even if someone is involved in his disappearance…” the King didn’t finish, but the way his fingers shifted upon the surface of his bow told enough.
“If this is your final decision,” Rafél began, leaving the sentence hanging.
“It is,” Thranduil answered, not giving the other a chance to rebel. “Some of the warriors stay to watch the camp. Messengers will inform you – if they will be needed. After we return, however, I would wish to speak with you.”
“Yes, my Lord,” Rafél said with a defeated voice, and with that Thranduil left, joining to his warriors. As Rafél watched the others vanish into the forest, he fought a temptation to search for his own weapons and take his leave. But the way the remaining Elves were observing him told that Thranduil would hear of his actions as soon as he did something forbidden. With an angry sigh he returned to his tent, desperate thoughts filling his head. Be careful, Legolas. This time you are forced to look after yourself. This thought did nothing to ease the cold fear inside Rafél, but he knew there was nothing he could do. And maybe Thranduil was right: Legolas was not in his strength anymore, and tracking a wounded Elf should be easy enough.
Thalión cursed yet again, his eyes searching the ground. He had sought – in vain – to find any marks of Legolas’ passing, but as soon as the forest began, it seemed as if the youth had vanished into a thin air. Legolas had indeed left his tent by himself: crawled out from the back, taken a short route through the underbrush, and then vanished to the forest.
“¤Anything?¤” Dínnor questioned from a tree where he was standing on.
“¤Nothing,¤” Thalión muttered unhappily. “¤He could have taken into the trees, but I would see the marks.¤”
“¤You taught him too well,¤” Asthaldo sighed, shaking his head. “¤Maybe we should get Rafél to help us? His bond to Legolas helped him before.¤”
“¤He is forbidden to come with us,¤” Dínnor answered.
“¤Why? And by whom?¤” Asthaldo questioned, puzzled. It made no sense to him that the best tracker of their lost Prince was kept behind.
“¤By Thranduil. And as for ‘why’, you may ask from the King himself,¤” Thalión snorted, eyeing the ground critically. “¤If you ask me, Rafél would have been better aid with us in here, not in the camp.¤”
“¤We can still get him,¤” Asthaldo suggested. “¤He might be hurt, but it does not hinder his senses.¤”
“¤We shall not violate out King’s order,¤” Dínnor decided. “¤Let’s join to others: there is nothing to be found from here.¤”
“¤And all the answers are in one Elf that is forbidden to aid us…¤” Thalión muttered as he joined to his cousins. Another search had just begun.
to be continued…